As a transgender person, have you ever experienced that differential? Have you ever been treated as less than a “(male) person” either because of being perceived as female or as transgender? I have and allow me tell one of the stories.
I was working as a systems designer for a doctor’s office in Tampa, FL. My project was to write a medical office management system including a medical records database - Cutting edge for the early 1990s. The project was almost ready and needed a network of computers for retrieving data/charts for the multi-room practice. This was before Cat5 or Wi-Fi and the wiring was to be a single coax cable, 10BASE2 using BNC "T" connection at each computer and terminated at the end of each run - simple. I contracted with a company to do the work.
This office was very liberal and my work presentation was flexible. So on the day the wiring was to take place, Rhonda provided detail written instruction for the technician. I went to each room that a drop was to take place and explained the loop setup. My estimate was that the job would take about half-a-day. The technician started in the morning and I checked in at noon. He was struggling and it was obvious. I went over the connections again. About mid-afternoon, he came to me and told me (not ask), “try the connections”. It was not going to work because he had it all wrong. Shortly thereafter, he left but did promise to come back the next day.
The next morning when I arrived, now in male presentation, he was waiting in his truck. I approached him and explained what was needed again. He looked at me said, “I am sure glad I have a man I can work with today”. He took my instructions and was finished in about an hour; working communication.
He did not want to listen or was willing to take instruction from a woman. Rhonda was “less of a person” than he wanted to work with. I was stunned at this change of status. Anytime I have related this story, the men are shocked as I was, and the women all know how it is going to end, long before I even get to the conclusion.
So, are you aware that a change in your presentation represents a change in your social status? Any experiences on your part? Please comment.